I was alone amongst the hoard in Guatemala City. I had somehow become separated from my travel companions. I could not speak Spanish well enough to communicate with those in the city square. I looked around for a safe place and spotted the Cathedral of Guatemala City. The Cathedral was built in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Over the centuries, it had had stood witness to immeasurable suffering and had served as a sanctuary for the oppressed.
What better place to find help? I entered one of the large doors. It was dark and dank inside. All around the sides of the Cathedral were alters lit by rows of candles. Women and men were kneeling in prayer. Some faced the stone wall, weeping. Some alters were dedicated to the thousands missing and murdered in the civil war that had not yet ended.
The suffering was palpable. I was overwhelmed by the grief of others and moved to tears. I had never been so aware of the cruelty of humanity. My biggest fear on my Central American pilgrimage had been getting separated from my group. Now it had happened, and my plight seemed slight. I sat for a while.